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HDMI and HDTV Shopping Tips


To help consumers make smarter high definition television purchases, — an industry leading e-tailer of cable, wire and equipment management solutions — has issued these HDTV Buyer’s Guidelines:

How to Choose Between LCD or Plasma HDTVs
When it comes to choosing between Plasma and LCD, it’s important to shop in the mindset that one high-def TV is not necessarily better than another – rather, it’s a question of which one is right for you. That said, it can be a tough call to make when all that meets the eye are sleek screens and vibrant pictures – are Plasmas and LCDs really that different? The answer is yes, and in order to make your purchase a well-informed one, we’ve summed up the features of each screen type:

  • LCD: Known longhand as liquid crystal display, LCD is the same technology used in your flat-screen computer monitor – just on a larger scale. Light streams through liquid crystal-filled cells to form images that have good color saturation levels and can be easily viewed even in rooms with high levels of ambient light. Great for gamers, LCD screens are wall-mountable, and available in sizes up to 52″.
  • Plasma: Plasma display technology uses charged neon and xenon-filled gas cells to form bright, color-saturated images with excellent black levels. Excellent for home theater buffs who want to get the most out of their TV or movie-viewing experience, Plasma screens can be on the pricier side, but are available in screen sizes of up to 65″.

Screen Resolutions: What’s the difference between 720p, 1080i, and 1080p?
Even if you know what size HD screen you’re looking for and you’ve narrowed your choice down to Plasma or LCD, the decision process isn’t over yet: have you thought about resolution? Resolution describes the sharpness and clarity of a TV’s picture, and while you’re shopping for a high definition television, you’ll come across three different formats: 720p, 1080i, and 1080p. In a nutshell – what each resolution format can contribute to your HD experience.

  • 720p: Even though 720p is the lowest resolution within the HDTV standard, it delivers impressive pictures on screens that are less than 40″ in size. The “p” stands for progressive scan, a format that’s ideal for viewing fast-action movies, sporting events and video games.
  • 1080i: It may not have as fast a frame rate, but since 1080i offers more lines and pixels than 720p, it’s a terrific option for people who enjoy watching slower-moving programming with lots of close-ups – think documentaries, non-action movies, and prime-time dramas.
  • 1080p: Otherwise known as “True HD,” 1080p combines a rapid frame rate with high pixel density for the best high-definition pictures available. Even though 1080p is the hottest thing going in HD resolutions, it’s important for you to keep in mind that with the exception of Blu-ray, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360™ and a relatively small amount of satellite TV programming, there’s not much true 1080p content out there. Although they’re backward-compatible with the lower resolutions, 1080p screens can’t live up to their full potential unless they’re displaying true high definition content.

HDMI Cables: How much money do I really need to spend?

HDMI Cable

People will try to convince you that investing in an HDTV justifies shelling out for the best HDMI cable that money can buy. But the truth is, a steep price tag isn’t always a reliable indicator of a high-quality HDMI connection. We did a price comparison between our HDMI cables and those from 5 leading A/V retailers, and the results are truly eye opening. Of the six cables compared, five are certified for HDMI 1.3, and all are approximately 6 feet long and feature gold-plated connectors – yet there’s a $129.00 price difference between the most and least expensive models.

Some of these cables may be marketed under famous names, but when all is said and done, they cease to be any different from ours as soon as they’re removed from their boutique packaging and plugged in. When you can receive the same quality of performance and manufacture from a $7 cable as from one that costs anywhere from 5 to 19 times as much, why break the bank? After all, with the economy as tight as it is, there are better things to spend your hard-earned money on.

Cable Length HDMI 1.3 Gold-Plated Connectors Retailer Price
Dynex HDMI Cable 6′ No Yes Best Buy $59.99
CableOrganizer 1.3 Certified HDMI Cables 6′ Yes Yes $6.99
Monster Cable 1000HD HDMI Cable 6.6′ Yes Yes Circuit City $135.99
AudioQuest HDMI-A Cable 6.6′ Yes Yes Crutchfield $39.99
Radio Shack HDMI-HDMI Cable 6′ Yes Yes Radio Shack $39.99
Philips Gold HDMI Cable 6′ Yes Yes Walmart $34.88
Velocity High-Bandwidth HDMI Cable 6.5′ Yes Yes CompUSA $28.98

Wire Management: What can I do to hide my HDTV’s cables?

Wiring Solution

While most people purchase HDTVs to enhance their viewing experiences, it can’t be denied that a sleek flat-screen display also has a way of improving the overall appearance of a room. To ensure that your high-def screen looks as impressive as it possibly can, don’t forget to compliment it with some well-thought-out wire management. Managing HDTV cables not only hides them from view, but also prevents them from becoming tangled and disorganized. One of our favorite HDTV cable managers is the Wiring Solution, a channel that installs vertically below wall-mounted screens to cover equipment-to-TV cable runs, and can be easily painted to disappear into your décor. We also highly recommend surface raceway, a type of latching channel that can be used in just about any configuration to route cables short distances, or even around an entire room. Like the Wiring Solution, raceway is easily paintable, and thanks to pre-installed self-adhesive backing, it has the added advantage of tool and screw-free installation.

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